Tag Archives: st marys

Court rules in favor of St. Mary’s construction


| RubenMuniz@queenscourier.com


The chronicle of controversial construction at St. Mary’s added an additional chapter to its touchy tale.

On May 31, the New York State First Division Appellate Court voted three to two in opposition of the Weeks Woodlands Association’s appeal to block expansion at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children.

The heated litigation has been ongoing for several years between the Weeks Woodlands Association, a community group in Bayside, and St. Mary’s. The community group has argued that St. Mary’s violated zoning laws with its current construction project.

St. Mary’s treats children with serious illnesses or injuries, providing rehabilitation and specialized medical care to over 4,000 children every day. The original building, constructed in the late 1950s, caters to children suffering from diseases prevalent during that time period.

According to St. Mary’s spokesperson Leslie Johnson, the space is in dire need of an update, coinciding with technological advances. While the new pavilion will not add patient rooms to the facility, Johnson feels the expansion will “right size” the space. Because patients’ stays average between three to five months, Johnson believes the upgraded 90,000-square-foot center will allow parents to rest by their children’s bedside and give patients a suitable amount of space to heal.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision to dismiss the case,” Johnson said. “This favorable decision brings us one step closer to the realization of a total-healing environment for children with complex medical needs.”

The court’s ruling rendered the case as moot, citing that “petitioners sought no injunctive relief from this Court upon the instant appeal.” The court also said the project is well on its way to completion, with “the excavation, foundation walls, steel superstructure, concrete slabs, metal stud frames and duct work” already finished.

St. Mary’s gets a ‘sweet’ lesson


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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Students at St. Mary Gate of Heaven School learned a sweet lesson — just in time for Halloween.

World’s Finest Chocolate — the leading provider of chocolate fundraising products — made a stop off its national tour in Ozone Park on Tuesday, October 11 to raise the [chocolate] bar in portion control. The chocolatiers came to promote the message of “eating right and staying fit,” bringing the world’s largest chocolate bar with them to Queens.

“We’ve taken it up as our responsibility to raise awareness of the need to have a healthy lifestyle, eat right and stay fit,” said tour director Sarah Lynn Brannan. “The giant chocolate bar is just meant to get the kids’ attention, and it definitely works. After that, we’re able to talk to them about that message.”

Certified by Guinness World Records, the world’s largest chocolate bar weighs 12,190 pounds and has 209,000 servings. It is four feet wide, three feet high and 21 feet long.

“The chocolate looks really good. I want to eat it,” said eighth-grader Miranda. “It showed us that when we eat chocolate, we still have to stay fit, and we have to be active.”

Along with healthy eating and portion control, St. Mary students learned that it’s okay to eat chocolate once in a while — as long as it’s eaten in moderation and not in large amounts.

“I think it’s really important to instill that message in them at a young age when they’re developing lifestyle habits, so they can carry that on with them,” Brannan said.

Before all 500 kids could line up and get a whiff of the chocolate aroma one at a time, they watched an educational video and — after a quick and interactive question-and-answer session to see if they were paying attention — they learned a specially-choreographed exercise dance.

“It’s a good idea to get the kids to know that they need to watch what they eat,” said Principal Patrick Scannell. “That’s part of this country’s problem now – obesity – and that’s because going to McDonald’s and super-sizing your meal is not good for you. It’s quite an idea.”

Scannell said he noticed that the adults were more interested in the chocolate bar than the kids were.

Fifth grade teacher Gina Faraon said she couldn’t stop looking at the massive chocolate bar, not because her sweet tooth was aching, but because she couldn’t believe it was real.

“If they say it’s real, it must be real,” she said. “I’m going to touch it later to make sure.”

The chocolate bar’s national tour will continue until May. At the end of the tour, the bar will be served at a sweets festival in Chicago.